Portrait Photography Tips

portrait-photographyPortrait photography is a distinct art that reflects the minute features of the subject. A number of techniques are necessary to be understood before clicking a portrait.

You need not be an expert or professional at portrait photography to click a stunning portrait of your subject. A portrait can be defined as a person’s similitude. Though the definition is very simple, the portrait in itself has a deeper meaning. A portrait can capture the features, character or nature of the subject.

A great portrait is the one that reflects the uniqueness of the subject along with the “wow” factor. Now, if you are new at portrait photography, then keep in mind that there are simply no rules for capturing portraits.

How to Capture Stunning Portraits

Tools of The Trade

The very important tool that you require to create a wonderful portrait is a camera Search on the Internet or visit a nearby store to make yourself aware of the cameras available. Digital cameras make some of the best cameras to be used for portrait photography. They are easy to work with when compared with film cameras, due to their versatile nature and accuracy. Certain features of such cameras help to enhance the beauty of the portrait. Avail a good deal on a tripod while you’re at it.

Background

Decide the background or location where you want your subject to pose for the portrait. You can go for an outdoor or a studio portrait photography. Whatever location you choose, a plain background is usually a good option. This is a very important factor that will decide how good the portrait will result.
See that the location is not distracting. A distracting background may reduce the focus on your subject. Choose the background that will blend well with the physical features of the subject. You can use blurring effects to hide a distracting background. This will bring more focus on your subject.

Eye Contact

Eye contact or the direction of the eyes of the subject plays a significant role in snapping portraits. A different eye direction can bring great impact on the portrait. You can make your subject look at another subject within the frame, or you ask the subject look outside the frame as if the subject’s attention is towards something that is out of the focus of the camera lens. Else you can also make the subject look straight into the camera lens.

Lighting

One more important factor that decides the fate of the portrait is lighting. Natural daylight gives best results for portrait photography. You can experiment in innovative manners for different lighting effects. Shadow effects by introducing obstructions between the light source and the subject can give spectacular results. You cannot always rely on natural light and hence, many a time you may require to take help of artificial lights, in order to give better effects to the portrait.

The Perfect Shot

Catching the exact expression of the subject is a must for a beautiful portrait. Ensure that you make your subject comfortable throughout the session. The portrait should look natural and not artificial. Smile is not just an expression that you can capture in a portrait. Experiment with your subject’s expression, mood and come up with a unique style of the subject.

Take clicks with different angles and not in just horizontal and vertical directions. If the subject feels it uncomfortable to pose, take help of some props. This will help to make the portrait look more natural. See that you make a clever choice of props. The color combination of the prop and that of the subject’s outfit should compliment each other.

The basic tip for capturing a portrait is to keep it simple and natural and you will end up capturing a wonderful portrait. So what are you waiting for? Pick up your camera and shoot the best portrait you can.

Creative Photography Techniques

Here are some creative photography ideas that will help you capture some unique pictures. Just explore the depths of your imagination to improve your photography skills, and get that perfect snap.

Are you struck for some unique and new photography ideas? Well, this is a common problem faced by many amateur photographers. They love to click, but don’t know what to capture! If you are one of those, bored of capturing the same scenes, then here are some classic and creative photography ideas for you.

Creative Photography Techniques

Capture an Action

Most photos are still pictures, but this time get some action snaps. Actions happen and an ordinary human eye will just miss out, so, why not capture the same! Capturing such actions is a great idea. Saw the way a stone thrown in water travels inside? Then, just capture it and have a nice snap. You can also take such a pic by throwing a stone or a small object in a huge vessel. Or how about bullets piercing a bottle filled with water? Try and capture such actions and have a good collection.

Explore the Zoom-in

You might have restricted the zoom-in option for faces and far-away objects, it is time to use this to have some detailed photograph of closer objects. Yes, one of the creative photography ideas is to explore this option and you are sure to have some amazing snaps in the memory card. Look for those small stones, cents, shells, flowers, butterflies, a color palette and many more such things which you might not have thought of capturing by pressing on the zoom-in button and have classic snaps.

Monochromatic Photography Theme

What’s your idea of a monochromatic photograph? Black and white photography? Well, that’s right and definitely what most of you think. But, black and white photography is not all. Monochrome is a photography theme which means ‘of one color’. What this ‘one color’ is, completely depends up to your choice, it can be red, black, violet, green, yellow or just any color. Ever wondered how classy a photograph would look in shades of a single color?

Shoot at Different Time
There’s no need to explain the difference in view of a mountain range in early morning and during the late evenings. So, got an idea? Capturing the same object, place or view at different time of a day is definitely one of the best photography ideas. Night photography is something that you would just love to do again and again. Those colors, shadows and shades, which are nowhere during the daytime can be seen during the dark nights giving you some extremely beautiful snaps.

While you can always try the aforementioned creative photography ideas, don’t forget to explore your interest areas to click some unique photographs. If you love those speedy racing bikes or cars, just capture them. If capturing emotions is what you love, you can definitely get a lot of good snaps. One of the fun photography ideas is to click an object in various angles, no need to mention the funny upside down pictures! Other creative techniques like time-lapse photography, still life photography can also be considered to complete your collection of out-of-the-box photographs.

Starting a Photography Business

If you have a creative inclination and an eye for detail, starting a photography business can be a very lucrative way to be self-employed.

Many people with an eye for beauty, judgment of light, and ability to capture the moment undertake photography business. Those who have made a name for themselves in this field are earning extremely well today. This is because there are three things which matter the most for the success of this business: right composition of elements in the photograph, right opportunity, and right networking.

Undertake Professional Courses

Even if people say you are a ‘pro’ at photography, it is highly advisable that you undertake professional courses to hone your talent. Getting a certification in photography or attending courses will give your work a professional perspective. Needless to say, your work will be taken more seriously on competitive platforms. It will also teach you to work with many photography software, the knowledge of which has become indispensable today.

Mentor

Is there a photographer whose work you look up to or appreciate? You may be in awe of how he has carved a niche for himself in the field of photography. You may even be a pure admirer of his art. Meet that person and speak to him about your aspirations. Request him to teach you ‘tricks of this trade’ and guide you in your work. Having a mentor can not only help ameliorate your work, but it can also get you good business contacts.

Hands-on Experience

Merely spending a few hours in photography classes is not going to make you an ace photographer. Apart from continuously clicking photos of various objects, models, monuments, nature, etc., you will have to do an internship with an able photographer. This will actually help get a preview of how your business will operate. Learn as much as you can about camera, equipment, posing, makeup, models, objects, light, etc. Even if you earn only a few dollars for this work, take it, as you will learn a lot.

Be an Expert

In the initial days, you can try your hand at different kinds of photography. However, it is advisable that you specialize in a particular field later, like wedding photography, fashion photography, industrial photography, travel photography, object photography, wildlife photography, food photography, portraits, etc. This will help in establishing yourself as a capable and creative photographer.

Build a Portfolio

Build a creative portfolio of your photographs which will help showcase your talent in front of clients. They will get an idea about your work and give you more business. They may even refer you to their family and friends. Having a good e-portfolio will enable you to send your work to prospective clients in a matter of minutes.

Finances and Taxes

During the inception stage of your business, you may not have the necessary funds. Hence, it advisable to take a loan for the same. You can get an SBA loan easily, without much hassles. It is recommended that you carry your portfolio with you when you go to your lender to make a favorable impression. Also, hire professional services to look after your financial records and taxes. Maintain a record of all paperwork as it will be useful later on.

Source Equipment

Sourcing the right equipment is essential for your business. The quality of your photos will be highly dependent on the quality of camera and allied instruments you use. Hence, do not compromise on it. You will require a variety of instruments like camera, lenses, flash, flash cards, tripod, etc.
Speak to a senior photographer before going ahead and buying these things. Try to utilize online deals to get them at best bargains. However, buying secondhand equipment is not advisable, as they will cause you to spend a lot on repairs.

Hire a Studio

In the initial days, when you might have cost constraints, you may choose to shoot at locations decided by the client which may include their houses, lawns, convention halls, parks, etc. Some even create a temporary studio space in their home. However, renting a studio is also an option, if you have some extra money to spare. You may need to allot a place for a professional lab in your studio. Slowly, as your business will pick up, you can go ahead and buy a studio of your own.

Hire Help

As your business will expand, you will find it difficult to keep up with its growing demands on your own. Hence, it is advisable that you hire photography enthusiasts or students as interns to assist you with your work. This way, you will be able to get employees at a very lesser cost. In turn, the interns will also get hands-on experience.

Network

The right kind of networking is essential for being successful in this business. Attend photography conventions and visit galleries to meet other photographers. Mingle with other photographers so that you may get opportunities through their contacts.

Promote Your Work

It is important that you promote your work on a large scale. Start with having a website which will feature your work along with the price list. It’s great to have your (business) presence on all the social media forums. Print calendars with your photos and send them to your clients as New Year gifts.
Try to put your branding on your cards, envelopes, invoices, and album covers. You can even put stickers on your car. Enroll your entries in photography contests, and try to get your work printed in a magazine. This will help bring recognition and more business.

Formalities

You
may have to register your business as ‘doing business as.’ Apart from this, you will need the necessary licenses and permits from your local and state authorities to start your business.
You may also need to avail the Employee Identification Number. Understand the prevalent copyright issues, and don’t do anything that will cause a legal offense. You may have to get a ‘model release’. This is a liability waiver which is signed by the subject of the photograph allowing the photographer to legally release the photo. It is also advisable that you get a Professional Photographers of America (PPA) membership.

Use Social Media

Nothing works well for promotion of photography business quite like social media. It is perhaps the best word-of-mouth source. You can blog about your work and communicate about it to the world. Utilize social media platforms, like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Flickr, etc., for marketing your work. You will be surprised to find so many people connecting with you through these platforms.

Keep Up with the Industry

Professional photography is perhaps one of the most dynamic of all the creative industries. You should also keep an eye on the developments in the photo editing software industry. There is a technological innovation after every few days, and clients will expect you to be abreast with it. Hence, you should take some time out for training and brushing up your talent.

Undertake Insurance

Undertaking insurance for the safety of your premises and equipment is a must. The last thing you would want is something to damage your costly camera. Accidents can happen anywhere, so insurance coverage is a must. For more information about insurance coverage, you can log on to the PPA website.
Offer various discounts and promotional schemes to your loyal customers so that they will spread the word about your services. Try to create a favorable reputation in the market by clicking stunning images. Do not leave a single opportunity to promote your work.

Basic Techniques of Photography

basic-techniques-of-photographyFor getting the hang of photography, you need to know some basic photography techniques. The more you handle the camera, the more used to you would be with it and you would get to know the intricacies of photography.

Moments once gone cannot be brought back. Hence, having some knowledge of photography comes in handy when there are such moments to capture. It is important to familiarize yourself with the basic photography techniques in order to click some amazing pictures. Have a look at them.

Know your Camera
You cannot click good pictures if you do not know your camera inside out. So, start off with getting to know your camera thoroughly. Keep on checking the manual every now and then. Read the manual properly and as you read it, see the corresponding function of your camera. You can learn the minute tricks and details by this. From the exposure to the lens, you will get all the basic photography terms from it.

Flash
Keep experimenting with the flash till you don’t get it correct. A cardinal rule while you are clicking photographs is to control the flash. It is important to know when to keep the flash on and when not to. For instance, when you are clicking pictures outdoors, on a bright sunny day, turning off the flash would be a better idea. If the subject is in the shade, you can consider using the flash.

Macro Mode
Most of the digital cameras have a macro mode these days, which is perfect for taking close up shots of something like flowers or even insects. Choose a subject, turn on the macro mode, and go as close to the subject as the camera would allow you to. But take care that you focus properly before you click.

Maintaining Level
Whenever and whatever you click, one of the most important thing is to hold the camera properly at the appropriate level. One of the ways to gauge whether you have held the camera at the correct level is to look for the horizontal lines. These lines will guide you about the correct level of your camera. If you are clicking a sunset, make use of horizon as the reference line.

Tripod
In your basic photography skills, the knowledge of using a tripod is essential. When there are low light conditions and you want to click pictures, the tripod comes into picture. In addition, tripod is useful to click images of a moving subject. It gives stability to the shot in situations where you may not be able to keep your hands stable.

ISO Setting
The sensitivity to light is controlled by the ISO setting in the camera and thus it is one of the very important functions of a camera. This setting has to be changed according to the subject. To get acquainted with this, experiment with it. A good tip is, when you are taking a still shot, always use a low ISO setting. On the contrary, if you are clicking a moving object, a higher ISO will work better.

Memory
Make sure that you have enough memory in your camera before you start with the photography. If you have the traditional camera, keep enough camera rolls. Imagine if you are on a holiday in a fabulous location and your camera runs out of memory space!

Getting to know these basic techniques will make the activity of taking photographs much easier and enjoyable. Who knows you might land up finding a lucrative career option for yourself in the process!

Landscape Photography

Does the beauty and splendor of nature inspire you? Did you ever wish that the multi-hued rainbow you saw the other day or the picturesque sunset you witnessed on your vacation, were forever? If yes, then perhaps landscape photography is just for you! Read on for some landscape photography tips to get you started.

A landscape photograph is a photograph in which the main subject is nature. The purpose of a landscape photograph is to capture the beauty of a natural landscape, and this is the reason landscape photographers do not include people as their subjects. Landscape photography, just like wildlife photography, is not easy as it requires a lot of time and effort. There are three styles of landscape photography: representational, impressionistic and abstract. No matter what your style is, the following tips on landscape photography are sure to help you.

Useful Tips for Landscape Photography

Just like any other art, there are certain landscape photography techniques that you should follow if you wish to click some awesome shots. If you have tried your hands at portrait photography before, you’ll find that these tips are different from tips for portrait photography for the fact that these are two very different styles of photography.

Tip 1: Use a Wide Angle Lens
The ideal lens for landscape photography is a wide-angle lens. Using a wide-angle lens allows you to capture more of the breathtaking view in your shot. Also, using a wide-angle lens for your shot gives you the option of converting it into a panorama, with the help of editing software. You can experiment with different angles for the shots and also with lenses of different focal lengths.

Tip 2: Maximize the Depth of Field
Increasing the depth of field of the photograph means a greater part of the photograph is in focus. To do this you need to decrease the aperture of the camera. However, decreasing the aperture size means less light reaching the image sensor, which needs to be neutralized by increasing the shutter speed.

Tip 3: Use a Tripod Camera Stand and Remote
For the simple reason that you need to set the shutter speed as high, to compensate for a smaller aperture, it is extremely important that your camera is completely still while the shot is taken. If you hold the camera in your hand during the shot, chances are that it may get shaken, resulting in a blurred image. It is even better if you use a wireless remote instead of manually clicking the shutter with your hands as this way you’ll get really sharp images.

Tip 4: Use Filters and Polarizers
If you are taking the shot during the day, it is advisable to use graduated filters. This way, there will be a balanced exposure in the photograph right from the beginning without you having to spend hours on Photoshop editing it. There are an array of different filters that serve to enhance your shot in different ways. While density filters control the amount of light reaching the lens, color filters come in different colors, and add a touch of a particular shade to the photograph. Polarizing filters add saturation to your shots.

Tip 5: Choose the Perfect Timing
The quality of landscape photography depends a lot on what time of the day you take your shots. Experts believe that the best time to take your shots is either early in the morning or late in the evening. Sunrise and sunset add a special touch to your photographs and are termed as the ‘golden hours’. This is because the angle as well as the color of the light during these hours have been widely accepted as the best for landscape shots.

Tip 6: Follow the Rule of Thirds
The ‘Rule of Thirds’ is helpful in creating a balanced composition, which is essential for landscape photography. According to this rule, you are supposed to divide any composition into three parts by imagining lines passing across it. Now, you have to set the frame such that the areas or objects you wish to focus on, lie on the intersection of these lines. This can be a useful tip for beginners in the field of landscape photography.

Tip 7: Capture Movement
The term ‘landscape’ generally brings serene images to our mind. However, objects in motion do form a part of many landscapes. Consider this. You climb a hill to capture the breathtaking view of the valley below. On your way back after having clicked some splendid shots, you suddenly come across a majestic waterfall. Being the nature lover that you are, would you not want to capture the beauty of its cascading waters? ‘But how?’, you may ask. Well, to capture moving elements in a landscape, you need to set a slow shutter speed. However, you must keep in mind that a slow shutter speed means more light reaching the lens. To counter this, you need to have a smaller aperture and use the right filters.

Tip 8: Be Patient
Patience is one of the key ingredients to stunning landscape photography. Rushing through the entire process would land you with images that might be good enough but never extraordinary. If shooting a masterpiece is what you are after, then you need to put in that extra effort. On reaching the location, just spend time in scouting for the perfect angle and wait for that time of the day when the lighting is just perfect.

Tip 9: Shoot in RAW Format
Whenever you shoot landscape, do so in RAW format. This is because images captured in RAW format not only portray the minutest details of the landscape but also give you a wider scope for manipulating and enhancing the image with the help of image editing software such as Photoshop.

Tip 10: Learn to Use Lines and Points of Interest
To make a composition truly interesting and visually appealing, you need to add something that holds the viewer’s interest and kind of leads him into the picture. To bring out this effect in your composition, all you need to do is add an object of interest which can be anything as varied as a strange-looking tree to a weird-shaped sand dune, or even a cottage in the distance. Another way to lead the viewer into the photograph is the use of ‘leading lines’ that end up at the point of interest or the focal point. You can use winding lanes, streams, railway lines, etc to direct the viewer’s attention towards the focal point of the composition.

Food Photographers are Tricking Us

With the explosion of food brands in the modern world, companies really push the boundaries when it comes to attracting customers. In this article, we reveal some of the commonly used food photography styling tricks, which takes picture and mind manipulation to a whole new level.

Food products which are featured in advertisements almost always look completely different from the food that the brand is actually selling. The truth however, is that, these exceptionally presented culinary delights we see in photographs and TV commercials are not fit to be eaten, and would be absolutely disgusting to taste.

The art of food photography is extremely technical, usually taking the stylists hours to create the perfect shot. All photographers make use of external factors, such as the height, angle, colors, textures, lighting, food placement, props, and backgrounds, to make the food look appetizing, and serving it in a way which flaunts the best features of the dish. However, some go even further, using some really weird, yet creative food photography tricks, which stretches the limits to just how far manufacturers can go in order to bring in more buyers.

Cereal Advertisements

Real milk makes cereals such as cornflakes very soggy, really fast, which does not look appetizing in the least. One option photographers use is to substitute the milk with cream or yogurt, which is slower in making the cereal soggy. However, in some cases, white glue is also used, which is lovely to look at, but surely inedible.

Hot Food

If a brand is marketing hot food, the advertised food items have to look hot. No one likes cold meat. The best way to display that a food item is hot, is by showing lovely curls of steam billowing off the product. However, photo shoots are really long procedures, and keeping food perpetually hot is near impossible, without compromising on the appearance. So, to get around this problem, stylists soak small sponges, tampons, or cotton balls in water, microwave them till they get steamy, and skillfully hide them behind the food product, just before taking the picture.

Juicy, Meaty Steaks

Making a steak appear thick, juicy, and pink after cooking it properly is very difficult, as heat tends to dry out and shrink the product. So, if a brand is advertising a steak or hamburger, the meat is first carefully seared on the outside using a blowtorch. Following this, grill marks are added by using a branding iron, and to get a convincing finish, marmite, shoe polish, eyeliner, or wood varnish is applied to give the meat a nice succulent color.

Super Burgers

Advertisements of major fast food brands, show burgers as massive, upright towers of succulent ingredients. To attain such a structure, one of the commonly used tricks is to skillfully slip in sheets of cardboard between the product, which keeps the burger upright. Along with this, they also strategically place toothpicks and pins through the burger, which keep the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, etc., in place.

Stylists also painstakingly glue sesame seeds to the bun, using tweezers, and melt the cheese carefully at the edges in exactly the way they want it. The sauces are strategically squeezed in with a syringe. Tweezers are also used to arrange the noodle placement and curvature when photographing Asian dishes. The cardboard trick is also used when photographing other layered items, such as cream cakes.

Delectable Flapjacks

Almost everyone loves to see a large stack of flapjacks, just oozing with maple syrup or honey. However, food photographers face a major problem here while taking pictures. This is because, the flapjacks are porous and absorb all the syrup. To stop this from happening, stylists spray the flapjacks with an aerosolized form of fabric protector. Also, they might substitute the syrup with motor oil, as maple syrup does not look as good on camera.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Often, fruits and vegetables shown in photographs and TV commercials have a lovely matte look to them. This symbolizes freshness in the mind of the consumer. However, the reality is that, to achieve this look, photographers have to spray the fruits liberally with deodorant or hairspray. These sprays are also used to keep cakes and other confectioneries from drying out under harsh lighting.

Cold Food Items

If you are seeing a product which is icy cold on a professional photo or on a TV advertisement, it is most probably covered in a spray of glycerin. This is because, glycerin is commonly used to provide a glossy, shiny look to any product, like cold drinks, seafood, or fresh salad leaves, which gives the appearance of moisture.

Ice Cream

A look at the above ice cream might make you want to jump right in. However, even these delicious scoops might have been made using some ingenious fake food advertising tricks. Since real ice cream melts really quick, mashed potatoes are colored with food dye, and scooped to play the role of ice cream. Photographers are also known to use small pieces of paper towels on top of the ice cream, which help hold the syrups in place. Alternatively, ice creams can also be made from fat and powdered sugar.

Apart from ice cream, mashed potatoes are also pumped into chickens and turkeys with a syringe to make them look plump, or they might be disguised as pie fillings to give the pie slice a sturdy structure.

Super Cheesy Pizzas

One of the most common tropes used by pizza brands is to show a slice of pizza separating from the main pizza, while long, stretchy, strands of cheese ooze out from the side. To actually have this happen, photographers overload that particular slice with a lot of cheese before it is cooked. So, when the slice is taken out, it looks much more delicious than the rest of the slices, giving an illusion of excess for the entire product.

Aerated Drinks and Milk

No form of aerated drink looks good without an overabundance of fizzling bubbles. To get the drinks churning and bubbling, photographers add a small piece of an antacid tablet, into the bottle or glass. On the other end, dish soap is added to a cup of milk or coffee to give larger surface bubbles. This produces the illusion of the milk being freshly poured.

For all of these food products, only the best ingredients are selected out of a collection of hundreds or thousands of specimens, and extreme care is take to get the proper shape and size of the product. This professionalism and care is glaringly missing from the real product which is sold to consumers. As you can see, food brands use a wide variety of extremely misleading, professional food photography tricks. However, this kind of unethical food porn deserves to be made just as taboo as actual porn, if not more. We have to remember, there is no scope for change without the active participation of conscious consumers.

Wedding Photography Styles

If your wedding is approaching soon and your photographer wants you to select a style of photography for your wedding pictures, then you would want to know what the different styles of wedding photography are. Here we tell you a little about these styles of photography.

There are very few memories that is as deeply embedded in your heart as the day on which you get married. Every moment of the day of your wedding is something that you would want to treasure and make a special place for. Capturing these moments is important and that is exactly where wedding photography comes into play. Every photograph from the wedding tells a story and these stories are enhanced by the style of the photography. Most wedding albums consist of photos that are clicked in one of the four styles talked about here.

Styles of Wedding Photography

Consult any wedding photographer about ideas for wedding photography and you will be asked to first pick a style that you would be comfortable with for your wedding. There are four main types of wedding photography. Depending on your aesthetic sensibilities and what you want from your wedding photographs, you can choose one or a combination of these photography styles for your nuptial ceremony.

Traditional Wedding Photography
This is the style of photography that most of us are familiar with as this is the most common style for wedding photos. The photographs tend be posed for in a certain manner and the photographer has a lot of say in how the photos will look. There will be a sense of chronology to the images. While traditional wedding photos ensure that there are many brilliantly posed images for the wedding album, the problem lies in the fact that it often looks stiff and too rigid. The happiness that is evident in candid photos tends to be missing with these photos. These photos tend to be slightly too formal and can be reminiscent of an era gone by. But the benefit of such a style is that you will have all the images that you expect out of a wedding album.

Contemporary Wedding Photography
With contemporary wedding photography one thing that you can be sure of is that you will never end up with similar photos. Every image will be as unique as you yourself are. There is a sense of fun and an element of fun that is attached to contemporary wedding photography. While there may be posing, there is a more stylistic sense to it. The backgrounds for the images will be such that they look straight out of a fashion or lifestyle magazine. This results in images that have a major feel good factor that is synonymous with it, thanks to the glossy appearance. The major problem with this style of photography is that after a couple of years there is a sense of age that becomes attached to the photos because it loses its trend factor. But despite that, if you are looking for gorgeous, fashionable photos of your special day, then this may be the style to pick.

Photojournalism Wedding Photography
You may wonder what journalism has to do with wedding photography? Well, the answer is that this style of photography uses the inherent characteristics of photojournalism while clicking pictures. The photographer becomes a part of the crowd clicking in-the-moment photographs that capture the special instances at the wedding. This style of photography is candid and very different from what is traditionally posed photography. There is certain freshness that is attributed to this reportage style of photography. Also there is a sense of a story that is being told through the photographs. The problem with this style of photography lies in the fact that you are never sure of how the photos may turn out. If you opt for this style of photography for your wedding then ensure that your photographer has experience with the style. You after all want to have many happy memories of the wedding.

Artistic Wedding Photography
What is the definitive feature of this type of wedding photography? Well, as is evident from the name given to this style of photography, the images of a painting like feel to them. Every image is unique either because of a conscious intervention by the photographer or due to sheer beauty of the setting of the photograph. If you want to choose this style of photography for your wedding, then you need to understand the style and see whether it holds any appeal for you. These image may be slightly unorthodox and risky. Choose this style if you want photographs that have a magical and other worldly effect in them. While this style may not have been very popular, many couples are breaking traditions and option for artistically clicked photographs.

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and the memories from the day should be such that they last you a lifetime. Choose from the varied styles so that you have images from your wedding that will make you smile with happiness every time you look at them.

Best Tripod for Your Camera

To maintain stability of the camera while you click photos, it is highly recommended to get a tripod. However, choosing the right tripod can be a tedious task. We have put forth a buying guide that will help you in your feat.

A tripod can make all the difference between good and bad photography. Thus, amongst all the camera accessories, the tripod is the most important one. Stability at low shutter speeds and support for heavy cameras are the main reasons behind buying a tripod. In this Buzzle article, we have highlighted the things to look for while buying one.

Construction

The make of the tripod is the first feature that you should look into. Carbon fiber, aluminum, and basalt are the main materials used to make the tripod legs.

◆ Lightweight aluminum tripods lack the strength and thickness that are needed to keep the camera steady, while steady aluminum tripods are very heavy. However, they are cheaper than the other materials and thus, are widely used. You will find most media camera crew using an aluminum tripod.

◆ The carbon fiber tripods are light in weight and rigid, but come in trendy designs. These have a reputation of getting damaged when you drop them. However, due to their aesthetics, these tripods are costly.

◆ The new entrant in this market is the basalt tripod. They are low-end versions of the carbon fiber tripods, but lack the rigidity of its competitors.

Center Column

Center column tripods are not liked by many photographers. Once you extend the full legs of the tripod, the center column can introduce the unwanted vibration. The tripod is not at its stable best when raised to a higher level. But, you will find a lot of tripods that allow horizontal and vertical shooting due to flexible center columns. However, given a choice, it is better to buy tripods without such columns or the ones with removable columns.

Leg Lock

Tripods come with two types of leg lock mechanism: twist grip or spring-loader lever. The spring-loader lever is the quickest mechanism that is currently available, but has metal parts that can be subject to rust. The twist grip, on the other hand, is fast enough, but there are chances of slippage while locking/unlocking. However, there are no add-ons to this type of mechanism.

Leg Covers

Most of the tripods have foam leg covers that help keep this camera accessory warm while it is freezing outside. Though not an essential, it is better to check this feature when buying a tripod.

Tripod Head

One of the decisive factors in choosing the right tripod is its head. The tripod should be stable enough once you tilt the camera to one side. This is the best way to check the stability of the tripod head. Ball head and pan head are the two most widely available options.

◆ The ball head, as the name suggests, has a ball in the socket arrangement which provides you the freedom to rotate the tripod head using a knob. Due to the sheer comfort of rotating the head fast, motion photography becomes easy.

◆ Pan and tilt heads have handles that can adjust the camera in horizontal and vertical positions along with sideways tilting for portraits. By tightening the screws, the camera movement will be limited to a certain axis, which makes it ideal for landscape photography.

◆ The other type of tripod heads available are panoramic heads, which allow the camera to rotate around the nodal points of lenses. This makes capturing panoramic images easy due to the avoidance of parallax errors.

◆ You will also find gimbal head tripods that are suited for wildlife photography due to their fluidity, while handle-style heads have a bike handle-style arrangement, which upon squeezing allows the photographer to move the tripod in the desired direction.

Supports

Professional photography involves placing the camera on difficult terrains. Thus, it is necessary to support them in order provide the stability with filming. For this purpose, look out for photographic bean bags. These are similar to the ones that we use in our homes.

Maximum and Minimum Height

It is necessary to know the maximum height that the tripod will extend to. It should reach your eye level, else you will need to bend down to the camera to click pictures! The other factor that you need to consider is the minimum height that the tripod can be lowered to. This is needed for closeup shots or below-eye level photography.

Folded Height

Tripods will be carried everywhere you go. Hence, it is necessary to check the height of the tripod once you fold it. It should be convenient enough to carry.

Quick Release

This feature allows you to easily release and place the camera on the tripod. This option allows you to keep the hardware screwed to the bottom of the camera and press a lever to remove or install the tripod. Thus, you will be saved of the additional work to manually unscrew the tripod.

Alternatives

If you are hooked on a particular type of photography, you can choose special tripods made for those purposes.

◆ Monopods, as the name suggests, have only one leg. This gives freedom to the photographer to rotate the camera (and the tripod) in all angles. Such tripods are used in sports photography.

◆ Tabletop tripods are mini tripods that are free-standing, allowing the camera to sit firmly on the tripod without any support from the photographer. These are best suited for traveling and hiking. Though they are small in size, they offer features similar to actual tripods.

Best in the Market

◆ Benro Transfunctional Travel Angel Aluminium Tripod Kit

◆ Induro Alloy AT213 Tripod

◆ Manfrotto 294 Aluminium Kit (MK294A3-A0RC2)

◆ Vanguard Auctus Plus 283AT

◆ Velbon GEO E-530

◆ Slik Pro 700DX Complete

◆ Manfrotto 055CXPRO3

◆ Benro Versatile Transformer BRA2970F

◆ Velbon Sherpa 450R Complete

◆ Giottos Silk Road YTL8354 3D Column

Summary

◆ In case you are a first-time buyer, it is necessary to study your needs and then choose the tripod. Amateurs can go in for aluminum tripods with integrated head and legs. These are the cheaper lot in the market, and once you are used to using this additional accessory along with your camera, you can go in for high-end tripod models.

◆ As far as professional photographers are concerned, get yourself a better tripod that is lightweight and has quick-release heads. You can also try table tripods or monopods for specialized photography.

Before you buy a tripod, check whether it fulfills all your needs or not. If you own a heavy DSLR, choose the tripod accordingly, else you will end up ruining both equipment. When you finalize the tripod, make sure it makes a good compromise between the price, weight, and photography type.

Guide for Buying a Used DSLR

A DSLR camera can click high quality images, and has various features that enhance your photographs. However, due to its high price, it is not affordable to all. With the used camera option available, you can have this piece of beauty in your hand, at a reasonable price.

Digital Single Lens Reflex or DSLR cameras are best-suited for aspiring photographers and photography enthusiasts who want to progress to the next level and do more than just point and shoot. These cameras come with a variety of lenses with different focal lengths, that provide superior quality images. All those upgrading from their P&S (point-and-shoot) cameras will be amazed with the quality of images taken from a DSLR, in low-light and fast-action conditions. As these devices cost more than point and shoot digital cameras, opting for a used DSLR is the right choice for someone who isn’t willing to spend that much. But, it then becomes necessary to inspect and select the right DSLR, free of any defects.

Shutter Count (Actuations)

There are a finite number of shutter cycles for a DSLR camera, which means its life is fixed. Once this limit is crossed, you need to replace the entire shutter mechanism. The shutter count will give you a clear idea about the number of clicks done by the camera. It is also known as actuations. The seller can tell you the exact count, if he/she have kept a track of the same. If he has no idea about the same, then carry out the following steps to determine the exact actuations.

➽ You can look at the file numbering on the device, which tells you the exact picture count. However, you cannot rely completely on this method, because the file numbering can be reset.

➽ There are third party programs available on the Internet where you simply have to upload a picture taken from that camera, and the software will calculate the shutter count for you.

➽ For Nikon camera’s, find out the shutter count here. As far as Canon cameras are concerned, you can download EOSInfo utility on your system, so as to get the exact number.

➽ You can check the manufacturer’s website for the shutter count limit, and if the said device has crossed the limit, it is better to leave the camera then and there, as there is a need to replace the unit.

Sensor

The next entry in your checklist should be looking for dust on the sensor unit. You can check for physical damages to the sensor by lifting the mirror release. But if you simply take off the lens, you cannot see the sensor. Use the camera’s menu to lock the mirror, and then lift it to view the sensor.

➽ You can click a picture of any bright object with the lens aperture reduced to the minimum. Maintain adequate light conditions while doing so. Transfer the photo on your computer, and then magnify the image to see any visible dust spots.

➽ In case of dust issues, get it cleaned by using a lens cleaning kit, but if there are scratches on the sensor, reconsider before buying the product.

Sensor Resolution

Even though you have zeroed in on the camera model, it is good to consider the sensor resolution of the camera. It is always better to have a higher resolution sensor, but this could mean you may end up buying a pricey camera with high image noise.

➽ I may sound a bit blunt, here, but if you are rarely going to print your shots, I would suggest not buying a high sensor resolution camera, as you will never use it to its full potential.

➽ Take into account the regular print size (that you might print your images in), at the regular 300ppi resolution. This should give you a clear idea about the camera pixels. So, if you plan to print your shots in 6×4″ size, a 2.1 million pixel resolution is enough. However, to print in A4 or A3 sizes, you will need a 14.2 million pixel sensor resolution.

Lens

Depending on the DSLR that you intend to buy, you may or may not get the lens kit included in the camera price. Mostly, sellers give away their entry-level DSLRs along with their lenses. If you are among the lucky few, it is necessary to carefully check the front and rear elements of the lens for scratches.

➽ If there is an aperture ring, check its motion and folding of blades. Check for dents or scratches on the lens barrel.

➽ In case the seller hasn’t used the camera for a long time, chances are high that it was packed in a bag. There can be fungus deposits on the lens surface that could damage the glass beyond repair.

➽ Lens mounts and contact pins should also be checked for dents, scratches, or bends. If there are visible markings on the mount, it is clear that the seller must have used a heavy lens or dropped the camera. You can negotiate the price on this point.

Auto focus Accuracy

The camera’s auto focus can be checked by focusing on a particular object with and without the AF feature. Start by focusing on the main object in the manual focus mode. Now, do the same in the AF mode. Transfer both the images on your computer and view them in 100% zoom. There could be 3 scenarios depending on what you observe from these images.

➽ Scenario 1 – If both the photos look the same, there is no problem with the camera.

➽ Scenario 2 – If both photos look anything like either of the two images (see figure), your camera is working fine.

➽ Scenario 3 – But when one photo looks like one image (from the figure) and the other photo like the other image, we have problem.

➽ To check if you have a problem with the lens or camera body, try this solution.

Mount a different lens, click a photo of the same object, and transfer the photo to your computer. If you have a repeat of scenario 1 or 2, your lens has a problem. You can safely buy the camera, but without the lens. But, if you have a repeat of scenario 3, the camera body has a problem. You would be well advised to look elsewhere for your camera!

Screen

The LCD screen of your camera needs a careful examination too. Look closely at the screen for dead and stuck pixels.

➽ To check for dead pixels, point the camera at the sky with Live View on. The dead pixels will show up on the same place every time you move the camera. Apart from this, you can click several photos with different colors. Examine the images closely at 100% zoom and if you spot a pixel appearing in the same place, you have a dead pixel problem.

➽ To check for stuck pixels, you can set your camera to Auto or Aperture Mode, then turn on Live View. Now, if you point your camera and look through the viewfinder, and observe a pixel that never moves and retains its color, no matter where you point the camera, you have a stuck pixel problem.

➽ In case the device that you are interested in has two or three dead or stuck pixels, you can still buy the camera, but at a reduced rate. But if there are a lot of these pixels, it is better you don’t buy the camera.

Wear and Tear

The camera body condition says a lot about the handling and usage of the camera. While looking for a used DSLR, you are bound to come across cameras with scratches and dents. Minor blemishes are acceptable, but if there is significant damage on the exterior, it is clear that the camera would have been dropped.

➽ The working of the shutter buttons and dials should also be checked for any defects. Press each of those buttons and check if any of them are getting stuck, or you are finding it hard to press. If this is the case, you can ask the seller to replace the button or reduce the price of the camera.

➽ The neck strap shouldn’t have any material peel off and the lens cap shouldn’t have any clearance while fitting on the lens. If this isn’t the situation, you can always ask the seller to replace them.

➽ Next, click pictures by changing the camera modes, especially the program mode or auto focus mode. Check their clarity on the LCD screen. Also, record a video to check its operation.

Hot Shoe

The adapter where the flash is mounted is the hot shoe. Many a time, we fail to check this part of the camera for its fit.

➽ Mount the flash on the camera, and give the camera a gentle shake. If the flash rocks, ask the seller to fix it before you buy it.

➽ If there is no rocking of the flash but your flash doesn’t work, the camera might have a faulty flash switch. If you see an Error 05 popping up on the LCD screen, the flash switch is damaged and needs to be replaced.

Add-ons

Add-ons like battery charger, interface cables, body caps, etc., should be checked for defects and malfunction.

➽ Plug the battery into the charger unit and check whether it is getting charged. If not, you have a faulty charger or battery. Though these are easily replaceable, you need to shell out money for buying them, and its replacement cost can be deducted from the overall cost of the DSLR.

➽ If you are lucky enough, you might get lens filters, tripod, card readers, and extra batteries along with your purchase. You can click a few pictures with the lens filters on, and by transferring them on your computer, you can judge the image quality.

➽ Check the tripod screws. Place the camera on the tripod to check if it can withstand the camera’s weight. If there are any loose screws, you will immediately be able to spot them. Adjust the height of the tripod at various positions. If this operation is smooth, you have a great deal on your hand.

Warranty

In case you are purchasing the used gear from a store, you might get warranty on its parts. However, if you are buying one online, do not expect to receive any such offer.

➽ If the seller is selling off his new camera, you can always transfer the current warranty on your name. For doing so, you will need the original purchase receipt.

DSLR Options for Beginners

We have suggested a few models for first-timers in this field of photography.

☞ Canon EOS 70D: 20.2 megapixel
☞ Nikon D3200: 24.2 megapixel
☞ Sony Alpha A390: 14.2 megapixel
☞ Canon EOS 600D: 18 megapixel
☞ Nikon D3100: 14.2 megapixel

Whether you are upgrading your point-and-shoot cameras or trying your hand at professional photography, a used DSLR purchase is a wise idea because of the high costs of the new ones. But it is necessary to inspect the details of the camera thoroughly before striking a deal.

Choose the Best DSLR Camera

Do you want to know how to choose a DSLR camera? Here are some factors that can help make this decision easy for you.

There are a number of reasons why someone would want to shift to using a DSLR from a point and shoot digital camera. These reasons could range from wanting to get better image quality in your pictures to having the option of manual controls. Also, with photography becoming a more affordable hobby since the advent of digital cameras, it has also drawn more people towards it. After achieving a level of proficiency with digital cameras, most amateur photographers would want to use DSLRs. But how do you choose the best DSLR for beginners and what are the factors that need to be kept in mind? In this article, we give you tips that will help you choose out the best device fit for your needs.

Choosing the Best DSLR

Without beating around the bush, let us take a look at those factors that will help you decide which is the best DSLR for the money that you are spending on it. All the different features that you need to look out for in a camera to indulge in your interest of photography are listed out below.

Need
One of the most important factors to consider while buying a camera is what you are going to use it for. This is also probably the question that the salesperson at the store is going to ask you. Answer this question by figuring out what kind of photography you want to indulge in. Do you want to buy a camera to shoot pictures while going about life or do you want to specialize in sports or wildlife photography? Do not answer this question with what you would want to do in your fantasy land, but anchor the answer in reality.

Cost
Most of us have a fixed budget when we go out to buy a camera. This will be an important deciding factor when it comes to buying a camera. The price range where DSLRs are concerned is quite wide with basic models available for as less as USD 400 and going up to thousands of dollars. Setting a budget will ensure that you do not get confused with the variety you have at hand. Remember that your budget will also have to include the cost of lenses (in case you are planning to upgrade them), memory cards, camera bag, batteries (a rechargeable battery is a must have), and if the company offers an option for the same, then extended warranty for the device.

Tech Specs
Manufacturers often overemphasize the number of megapixels that a camera has. While important, this is not the only prominent feature. If you have the concept of megapixels explained to you, you will realize that higher megapixels does not necessarily mean that the image quality is better. A good resolution is definitely a must, but high number of megapixels are needed only if you need to print huge sized images. Another important factor to keep in mind is the image sensor size. The bigger your sensor size, the more the number of pixels it can accommodate, hence bettering the image quality. But then again, the need for this depends on what use you are going to put the camera to. If you are looking at buying one for sports photography, then look for one that has a very high shutter speed. Similarly, burst mode will enable you to shoot a series of images by just pressing down on the shutter release. Image stabilization or anti-shake as the feature is better known, is also an important feature. Other considerations are the range of ISO settings, the LCD size, so that you can view the images you click, and the flash which the camera provides. While cameras for professionals do not have a built in flash, most beginner level DSLRs for digital photography come with a built in flash.

These were some of the important factors to consider while choosing a DSLR for your use. Other factors to consider include the size of the device, as these cameras are not as light as point and shoot ones, so if you are looking for a compact sized device, you will have to search hard, as digital SLRs are generally weighty. If this is not your first DSLR, then check the previous gear you have and decide on your upgrade accordingly. If you had an SLR previously there is a possibility that the lenses you have are compatible with the new one that you want to buy. The same can be true for a memory card which may be compatible with both DSLRs and point and shoot devices. Also consider the possibility of a future upgrade, as this may be something that you need to keep in mind.

Some of the digital SLRs available in the market today are the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi Digital SLR, Sony Alpha Digital SLR-A300 Digital SLR, Olympus Evolt E-510 Digital SLR, Canon EOS 40D Digital SLR, and Olympus E3 Digital SLR. You can also take a look at the different charts of comparison available online to help make your choice. At the end of the day, the final choice can be made only once you have taken a look at the different models for yourself.